Book fair promotes literacy, reading through community involvement

Bryan High hosted a book fair at Barnes and Noble on October 8th in order to raise funds for the English department and to promote literacy in the community.

“We were able to earn $296 through the book fair,” English teacher Annette Kirk said. “With free shipping and the educator discount, we increased our savings on our purchases by another $80. People were very happy to support us because it didn’t cost them anything extra, everyone likes to support literacy.”

Other organizations helped out with the book fair, contributing volunteers to the event to show school spirit.

“We had a display of photographs taken by Mr. Burrows students; and Ms. Cross brought some of her theater students who read children’s stories in character,” Kirk said. “Mr. Morales brought out Vikingoteo, a Latin mixed dance group, and they were awesome.”

One of the main goals of the book fair was to promote literacy by helping people get books and promoting reading.

“Because we live in the Information Age, today’s workplace requires a high degree of literacy. Even manufacturing jobs are high tech and require higher degrees of literacy,” Kirk said. “Change happens so quickly now that people without literacy skills are not able to keep up with the changing job market.“

The book fair is not an isolated event, English classes are promoting literacy through events throughout the year.

“The English I students read extensively about illiteracy and a-literacy,” Kirk said. “Two professors from Texas A&M who specialize in the study of illiteracy and a-literacy spoke to our freshmen and then the students wrote an essay about what characterizes a literate person.”

The school also promotes literacy through programs and policies designed to promote reading.

“Bryan offers classes like READ 180 to help students reach their potential as readers,” Kirk said. “Our library, of course, constantly promotes reading with book giveaways, special collections, and even the addition of ebooks.”

The school library supports literacy through a variety of ways other than housing books.

“We make sure that all of the students feel welcome to come in, we have displays set up showcasing certain books, whether it be the new ones or the teens top ten,” Librarian Lamanda Jatzlan said. “We show interest in students and what they are reading, and we try to find books that would be a good fit for them, to encourage that.”

In addition, the ebooks the library offers help reach more people and make books more accessible to the community.

“It’s something we are really excited about and we are trying to get the word out with that,” Jatzlan said. “Students are allowed to check out one book at a time and you have it for seven days, then it will recheck itself back in, but you can always recheck it if you were not finished.”

Literacy is not important only in English or history, many other fields and areas require it in order for students to perform, such as math.

“Everything nowadays with EOC is moving towards real life application problems, so in order to be able to solve those problems students have to be able to read and understand what the problem is asking so they know what the answer is,” Math teacher coach Rice said.

People need literacy outside of school as well, it is not simply for academics as there are many real world situations that require it.

“By far literacy is more important than it ever has been in the past, especially when it comes to the mass media we have,” history teacher Chad Cryer said. “Having to be able to check sources with so many political parties out there, so many agencies that would seek to manipulate information.”

The book fair was a good step to promoting literacy according to kirk, and many hope to continue the event annually.

“I’d love for BHS to host a book fair every year,” Kirk said. “The way Barnes and Noble does the book fairs in store makes it a great way to showcase our students’ talent too, so it can be a lot fun.”